Budget.

It is almost a fowl word in many households. People rationalize their resistance to the budget in many ways. However, there is nothing scary or intimidating about a budget.

Putting it in Writing

Dave Ramsey often says the budget must be “on paper, on purpose”. I agree. Budgetting is essentially putting everything in writing. A basic notebook, calculator and pencil will work. If you are more technologically inclined, then Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks, and other financial software does exist. The key is to pick something that you will actually feel comfortable using and USE it!

Income –

Begin by listing all money that comes into the house. This includes salaries, bonuses, tips, gifted money or found spare change. Every copper coin that comes into your household must be writen down. If you are a single adult, then you are accounting only for yourself. if you have a spouse, children, or other tendents, then their incomes must be recorded.

What MUST be paid

Now that you have on paper or spreadsheet all income that comes into the house, you must begin calculating what MUST be paid. Dave Ramsey often refers to this as “prioritized spending”. Home, food, and utilities must come first. To insure that my family has shelter, the first thing I list in my budget is the payment on our home. Secondly, the second thing on my list is food. We have a family of 4, so I have slated about $100 a week on our grocery budget. Thirdly, we pay our utilities. Every other bill falls somewhere else in the list.

This part is about the barebones minimum. I am not saying that other bills should be ignored, or that this number will not change. This is being real about what is the bare amount that has to be paid, no matter what.

Tweakin’ It – Or the Emergency Budget Committee Meeting

Once you have placed in writing what comes in and what must come out, then things will begin to get hairy. Realize that your first, second, or even third spending plan/budgets will need some tweaking. Let’s say you estimate that your family will only spend $50 a week on groceries, and that come 2 weeks into the month, you are finding it impossible to do. Don’t give up on your budget. Just Tweak it. Look at how you can adjust or sacrifice in one area to give yourself some extra in another. The key to the tweakin’ is in not giving up. My husband & I are in our 4th month of living “on paper, on purpose” as Dave Ramsey says and I suppose we have had about 6 “emergency budget committee meetings” since.

The key is not to give up. Find a system of record keeping (budgeting) that works best for you and tweak it until it becomes second nature. It is the budget that has helped to put my household on track to getting out of all debt.

Links:

Gather Little By Little: “Create a Budget and Follow it”

Christian Personal Finance: “How to Budget”

Bible Money Matters: “Cash Flow Planning (part of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University)”

Let me guess: you have realized that you have debt. Most Americans due, but that does not make it a normal thing by any means. You know you have debt because there is more month than money, you can’t ever seem to “get ahead”, or that big minus sign in your bank account tells you so. It doesn’t matter how that you came to the realization that you have debt, it only matters that you do realize that you have debt and that you actually would like to get out of debt.

Checking Your Supplies

I point to Dave Ramsey as the source for the following advice: “put it on paper on purpose”. Use a spreadsheet program of your choice, or just a pad of paper and a pencil. The idea here is to know exactly how much income that you have coming into your house. Use your net income.

In addition to income, its time to see what you have packed into your wagon. Are there items that you could sell to lighten up your debt load? Evaluate carefully what you could sell, and the profit from that sell. Include this income on paper, and commit yourself to a deadline by which you will have posted the item for sell, or to have your yard sell.

Plan Your Trip

If you were going to take a huge trip across country, you would probably make a plan for your trip. Getting to the Land of Better Money Days is going to take preperation as well.  Just as one individual is different from another, every person’s money plan will be different from anothers. Make a plan. Make the plan realistic, though.

Know the dangers

Getting out of debt does have dangers: they are called tempations and lack of responisbility. Be firm when temptations come – remember where you really want to go (Debt-free-opia) and stay AWAY from things that try to stir you from that directions. Others may try to get you to splurge on something, but remember that just one little splurge will default your debt-free efforts. Be responisble. If you are wanting to get yourself (and family) out of the valley of debt, you must be responsible with your decisions. Don’t be a five year old and want, want, want. Disciple yourself, delay pleasure – be an adult.

Get Started NOW

Don’t put it off any longer. If you want to get to the land of Better Money Situations, start today. Any procrastinating, any excuses – are not going to produce real results. Start TODAY!!!

I will make you a promise: If you marry, you will at some point in time disagree with your significant other concerning money issues.

When My husband & I first married 10 years ago, I had the naive notion that money would not play as big of a part in our relationship as it actually ended up. 90% of the disagreements we have ever had have some root stuck in the troff of economy. I am very fortunate in that my precious husband has endured those disagreements. Alas, the foundation for this entry.

Prenuptial Understanding

Being a simple country girl, I am not one for prenuptial agreements. I do advise to those Brides & Grooms to be that before the Minister says, “Dearly Beloved,” that the two of you sit down and have several talks concerning finance goals. Be open with one another about money mistakes that you have made and make a written plan to prevent those same mistakes from infiltrating the joys of married life. Also, I would advise that the money talks go further and deeper than just money goals. Take the time to discuss your money heritage (how your parents handled money as well as how they taught you to handle money). It will play a part to some degree in how you handle money yourself. Talk openly, unhurriedly about money before you are 2 months into the marriage with $1600 worth of bills that you don’t know how to pay.

Budget from the Beginning; If your past that, START budgeting TODAY!

If you are able to begin your marriage with a mutual budget in mind, you will certainly obtain your financial goals more peacefully. Budgeting in the early months of wedded bliss may help pay for that second honeymoon in 20 years. However, if you are like me and did not begin your marriage with a mutual budget in mind there is hope. Married folks, sit down and start that budget today. Don’t procrastinate another day. Work together and realistically to make a budget that works for you as a couple. Every couple’s need and budget style will be as different as you and your spouse probably are.

One sided boats sink. Either way.

Perhaps you are reading this and saying, “Hay, I agree with you. I love budgets, BUT my spouse is throws money away like gravels…” Hear me now, a one sided boat sinks. What does that mean? If you are the budget/ frugal minded one in your marriage, your efforts alone are not enough to save the both of you. That is why a MUTUAL budget, with MUTUAL financial goals are essential – or else you’ll be bailing water out of the boat while the money-happy honey drills holes in the boat. The person you said “I do” to is your partner – in life and in finances. Together, you will make a doubly dynamic duo than you would alone.

Yes, it is worth being in agreement about

Do a couple of web searches and you will find many articles that show the link between finances and divorce. Throwing out the big D, other reasons that MUTUAL money goals are essential may be:

  • reaching financial goals more wuickly
  • less conflict on money-related decisions
  • better intimate relations with your spouse (and I ain’t just talking THAT kind of intimacy either)
  • clear plan = less confusion for all
  • teaching children and other family that money itself is not a terrible thing

It is worth the talk & the time. Although I have only been married to my darlin’ almost 10 years, I will say from my experiences so far that finances have been a big part of our hayride and probably will be. Only thing is that now we know where we’re going and how to get there.

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